Following on the heels of “You Don’t Need A Diet,” is today’s advice: You don’t need a gym. In fact, if you have not regularly been engaging in exercise and you go to a gym without any plan or guidance or experience, you are likely going to over-do it, injure yourself, or both.
I’ll save you a lot of money on coaching, gym fees, and travel expenses: If you want to start a healthy active lifestyle, start with walking. That’s it. Open your front door, or get off work, or get out of school, or whatever your schedule sets up and just walk. Start with fifteen minutes out, and fifteen minutes back. Do this five to seven days per week. An average person can walk an average pace of roughly 3500 steps in thirty minutes. Five days per week means about 17,500 steps for you. Seven days per week means 24,500 steps.
If a normal walk is too easy for you, step up your pace until you can feel your heart rate is elevated. Fifteen minutes of elevated-heart rate out, fifteen minutes back. Done five days per week, an average person will have 22,800 steps. Seven days per week averages 31,920 steps.
Get outside. Sweat. Smile at people. Bonus points if you do a barefoot walk in the grass. And double bonus points if you decide to throw in a couple of minutes of light jogging. But even if you don’t, just walking each day will have a profound impact on anyone who isn’t currently active. Especially cubical workers or students trapped behind their desk for a third of their day.
If walking, even at a brisk pace, isn’t enough for you, you still don’t need a gym. Simple body weight exercises for a few minutes are all you need to improve your healthy, active lifestyle. No gym required. Do it at home. Do it in the break room at work. Do it in your dorm room. All you need is a body and determination.
I’ve been working with a group of dozens of employees from a local business. Three days a week, after work, we’ve just been doing simple exercises such as: air squats, walking lunges, sit-ups, and push-ups. Easy pace. No target number of reps. Each exercise is done at a sustainable pace for one minute of work, and one minute of rest. Three rounds each. No weights. No gym equipment. But every single person in the group was physically exhausted by the end of the session. (Imagine the carnage that would result if I required them to use heavy free weights?)
Two weeks into it, they’re moving better, finishing easier, and recovering quicker. And nobody needed any advanced skill sets or complex gear or heavy equipment. Just their bodies and determination to improve their lives.
After four weeks of body weight work, everyone will be in much better shape, their clothes will fit differently, and a strength and conditioning program that includes some form of equipment is the next logical progression. In another two months, the benefits will be profound including improved mental clarity, biometric stats, and mood.
But to get started, you don’t need a gym. Just a body. And determination.
Get serious. Stick to it. I think you’ll do well.
As always, I invite you to let me know your results.